Embattled San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane cleared waivers on Monday and is expected to join the team's AHL affiliate on Tuesday. The question now, of course, is whether he actually plays another game in a Sharks sweater.
Kane, 30, has yet to suit up for Team Teal this season following an offseason marred with a league investigation into allegations of illegal gambling followed by a 21-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 protocol. While Kane issued a public apology for the suspension via the Players Association, Sharks players and staff all expressed throughout the first quarter of the season that they have not had any personal contact with Kane for quite some time.
In a phone conference with the Bay Area media on Sunday, Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said Kane was waived with the intention of sending him to the AHL Barracuda.
Joe Will says he expects Evander Kane to join the Barracuda for its practice on Tuesday— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) November 28, 2021
"We just decided that since he's a contracted hockey player, it's the best thing at this time for him to continue to play hockey, and this is the best option for that right now." #SJSharks
Will also said multiple times on the call the team didn't have an exact timetable for when he could return to the NHL club -- and didn't rule out the chance of Kane being traded to another team.
Evander Kane will start practicing with the Barracuda this week, per AGM Joe Will. No timeline for him to potentially join the Sharks.— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) November 28, 2021
With a timeline yet to be established, it's fair to wonder if Kane will remain with the club even if he logs time with the minor-league team. His presence with the AHL team alone has some worried he could put a cloud over the Barracuda dressing room.
The lack of communication between EK9 and the rest of the team has also raised a lot of questions.
Sharks head coach Bob Boughner told the media ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Blackhawks he felt he and the players were separated from the Kane situation so they wouldn't be distracted from preparing for games.
"Management’s done a really good job of limiting the distractions from the players and the staff," Boughner said, before adding: "We like what we have in our room, I think we’ve created a pretty good family atmosphere and culture and we’re going to continue to do that."
For the time being, it looks like Kane's future with the Sharks is still up in the air.